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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 646

updated
Saturday, 30 January 2010

FOOTLIGHT NOTES
images of theatre and other popular entertainment
1850s-1920s

Lena Merville

a cabinet photograph of Lena Merville (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
English born American actress and singer, in an unidentified role

(photo: Max Platz, Chicago, circa 1890)

Vulcan; or, the (Hammer-ous Blacksmith, Opera Comique, London, Saturday, 18 March 1882 'Vulcan, the burlesque by Messrs. Edward rose and Augustus Harris, is a version of the same author's [sic] Venus, which was brought out at the Royalty Theatre on July 14, 1879. . . .
'[Among the cast, which also included Robert Brough, Nellie Claremont, Kate Lovell, George Temple, Annie Robe, Lottie Harcourt and Julia Vokins,] Miss Lena Merville throws much life and spirit into her playing of Cupid, though she is too self-possessed, and plays at the audience in a most objectionable manner - a rapidly-growing fault amongst burlesque actresses, and one which should be discouraged. . . .'
(The Stage, London, Friday, 24 March 1882, p. 9a/b)

'French farces on the order of [Georges Feydeau's] The Girl from Maxim's do not often visit Richmond. The Turtle and Self and Lady have been here, but that is about all in recent years. A fairly large audience went to the Academy last night to laugh, and they laughed heartily. Perhaps some went to be shocked, but they were probably disappointed. True, there are some things in the piece that are risque, but the play does not make them unduly obtrusive. The Praline, Lena Merville, is supposed to be the center of attraction, but somehow others won more favor. She worked hard, and really played the part well, although her singing was only ordinary. The character work of Joseph Allen, as Gen. Petypont, was excellent. So was that of John H. Armstrong, as Le Due, and Florence Gerald, as Mme. Petypont. W.H. Turner was also successful as Dr. Petypont. The company was a large one, and only a few were really weak.'
(The Times, Richmond, Virginia, Friday, 25 October 1901, p. 3f)

Lena Merville was among the mourners at the funeral of Alice Atherton (Mrs Willie Edouin), which took place at the Little Church Around the Corner, New York, on 7 February 1899.

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